A Poet in His Early Twenties

vladimir mayakovsy

Walking aimlessly in rubber sandals,

White baggy faded jeans, shirt tucked inside,

He stops at the curbstone and marvels

At the drifting clouds.


Carrying Kierkegaard’s, Fear and Trembling, 

And Nietzsche’s, The Gay Science, he goes

From café to café, the books clenched,

Bulging like biceps.


Reading a page here and there

Without understanding a word,

He sighs and wonders at the dead

Autumn branch outside the window.

Succumbing himself to long bouts of silence,

He broods, searching for metaphors.


Fame and immortality stand at his doorstep,

A lichen-encrusted bust breathes in his cupboard,

Staring at him with the eyes of an old heron

Through the swirl of dingy, foul air.


Bohemian lifestyle gently taps on his shoulders,

The rented room, like rotten eggs, stinks.

He lets his hair grow, he ignores his razor.


Thin and pimply, sweaty palms, breath sour

From smoking too many Camels,

He haunts the streets searching for his own face.


The fire in his eyes is unsettling.

The storm in his heart is raging.


He imagines himself in a reading,

Long cigarette holder held in styled affectation,

Surrounded by dewy-eyed college girls,

Marveling at their sleek black dresses

And protruding asses.


Smoking and drinking, drinking and smoking,

He zonks-out on the couch.

Kierkegaard falls on his chest,

Nietzsche slips from his palm—


Yet deep inside he’s happy and content

Because he knows that he’s a poet,

And right now he’s too exhausted to give a damn

To what I have to say.


Twitter @bibek_writes

Looking at Your Photograph


Forgive the hours spent strolling
On the autumn boulevards,
And the words of ingratitude that I once spoke.

I love the fragrance that wafts
From your memory, heavy as dust—
Your tiny wren like nose that twitches,
Your ripe mouth that is meant to be kissed,
Your voice, soft as the chiming of temple bells,
Your eyes, two deep lakes in the valley of your face—

They melt my being.

Your hair is brown, with the sorrow
Of a lovelorn princess, and your face—
I stare, and tears well up in my eyes.

The white moth of timelessness
Flutters about the old photograph.
I stare, unable to leave the cool light
Of your heavy beauty, and wonder.

Twitter @bibek_writes

hay for the children


eight in the morning—

i carry hay in my backpack,

& walk into my classroom.


this is yet another day,

& the children have been hungry

since the break of dawn.


like grasshoppers

cracking in the weeds,

they cry for their breakfast—


plates full of hay,

wet in the morning dampness,

green & not too coarse,


with plant heads & leaves

as well as stems—

newly baled alfalfa.


they chew it mechanically,

& look at me with

contended eyes.


i know it will take time,

but they will digest the hay,

& lie down at rest,


snoring softly, their hay bellies

going up & down,

while i go to feed another class,


carrying more hay in my backpack,

& less wisdom in my mind.


Twitter @bibek_writes

Silence, I know you


Silence, I know you

so well that you are like

a lover, a forgotten princess

from a forgotten history.


But, tell me, when was the

last time I wrote about you?


Do not take me wrong—

I didn’t mean to hurt you,

nor did I mean to ignore you.


Look, even now I am sitting

by the window contemplating you,

watching the birds

fly from the branches,

hearing their songs,

breaking the silence-filled air.

I still forget myself in you,

& melt in the grey evening.


Observing their fragile bodies,

slender feet, little beaks,

I think of a line of verse,

whisper it

three times

until breath becomes air.


Silence, my quiet lover,

I always think of you—

your soft memories,

your dreamy voice,

your tender touch,

& I try to decide

whether it is a kiss or a bullet—

but in vain.

Twitter @bibek_writes



most people say

that you get wise

as you grow up,

that you become

the source of all

wisdom & knowledge

as years roll by.


your name in

public print,

& in certain places,

appear more than often.

your body sways

to the music

of enlightenment,

& in the brightening glare

of which

you don’t know

the dancer from the dance—

or wisdom from the wise,

in this case.


most people say

things like these

are bound to come

as you grow up.


as for me,

i am spending

all of my time

losing what i had

learnt at the university,

playing solitaire

on my iphone,

& forgetting the names

& faces

of certain people

i had met

in the yellowing pages

of thick books.


everyday—as if

in deep meditation—

i sit on the couch,

& with eyes bemused

or vacant,

watch people laugh

on tv

for hours.


everything’s dying,

getting blank & black.

my mind is folding

like the chapatti

that i’m munching

right now

slowly as i keep

growing up.


Twitter @bibek_writes